So I thought…what have we got to lose?
We were chatting about music, specifically who could be playing in The Penguin (our fictitious pub) during the final scene.
“Wouldn’t it be fantastic to get someone northern to do the music for the film?” That’s when Christine Dalby suggested Paul Heaton. We all loved the idea, “He’s a bloody legend!” but we never thought it would actually happen.
Then, I thought, sod it, I’ll email the synopsis for The Claimants to Mr Heaton – what have we got to lose? Then, bugger me, an email came back: Can you meet Paul Heaton next Wednesday 1pm, at the studios?
I won’t lie, I pull up at the studios in red-brick, post-industrial Salford, music blaring from the innocuous building (the only indicator that we are actually here), feeling that I’m in some kind of surreal dream. The project has been rocking since we started back in December, but to be meeting one of my idols who might be potentially writing music for our film was… well, you dream about shit like this, don’t you!?
Inside, the studio is amazing. Paul Murphy and I indulge in a coffee in the studio café down stairs and watch cool as fuck people milling around between rehearsal sessions. We’ve just sat down when Paul Heaton’s representative Dave Salmon walks in and we excitedly follow him upstairs to where Paul Heaton’s rehearsing in the studio. The room is bright and airy, with a huge white table where we sit, myself, Dave and Paul Murphy and wait.. this was it, this the consequence of my cheeky email.
When Paul Heaton walks in, notepad and pen in hand, we get down to business. A completely down-to-earth Mr Heaton listens intently to Paul talk about the story of The Claimants, how it all began, the story behind it. He writes notes and talks about how much the decline of Pubs is a cause close to his heart (his local closing only a few weeks before our meeting). He loves the idea. It’s well known that Paul has done a lot for The Pub. He owned the King’s Arms in Salford for a while and he’s biked thousands of miles doing gigs in pubs due for closure trying to raise money for them to stay open. The fact that our story is about a bunch of people doing a crazy thing to keep a pub open is what appeals to him.
The two Pauls (Murphy and Heaton) chat and it starts to feel that this collaboration between writer/director and musician might actually work! Tonally, Paul’s music is exactly right for the film; the heart, humour, darkness and biting wit in Paul’s songs would be exactly right for the film, Murphy tells Heaton.
After an hour or so, it’s time for Paul Heaton to go back into the studios and carry on prepping and creating for his new album, but before he goes he tells us… he’s in! Not only that, he’s going to write original songs for the film. OMFG!
We grab a quick photo of the two Pauls, say our goodbyes, thank Dave (Heaton’s rep) for everything that he’d done and head out.
As we walked out towards the exit, up the stairs to the Manchester fresh air, Paul Murphy’s words will stay with me forever..
“You did this Bax, well done!”.
Just goes to show what can happen when you send a cheeky email… You might not be spam!